SAN ANTONIO, Texas. Think back to the last time you were stopped at a red light. What did you do? If you are like many Americans, you may have looked down to check your phone, or changed the music on your phone’s playlist, or taken a moment to read an email or text message. What’s the harm, you might have thought—my car is stopped.
Yet, checking your phone at a red light is still texting and driving. When you are checking your phone, you aren’t entirely paying attention to other things going on in the road. You might not notice if the light changes. You might not notice a pedestrian walking in front of your car. You might not notice a car speeding behind you. All of these actions need attention in order for a driver to properly react. When it comes to texting and driving, when you’re behind the wheel, you should just put your phone down.
Distracted driving is believed to be the reason why we have seen an increase in traffic accidents in recent years. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving takes 3,450 lives every year and leaves another 391,000 injured.
Georgia recently passed a law that makes it illegal for drivers to touch their phones while they are behind the wheel. In Georgia, drivers can be ticketed for changing the music on their phones or adjusting their maps application—even when they are stopped at red lights. According to the Atlantic, the law does more than create a no-tolerance policy for texting and driving, it also makes it easier for police to crack down on drivers who have been using their phones while behind the wheel. When laws are ambiguous or when they allow drivers to touch their phones in certain situations, it is easier for drivers to find ways to get out of the ticket and also makes it harder for officers to justify a stop.
Should Texas follow suit and pass a similarly strict law? Under Texas law, it is illegal to text and drive. Drivers are prohibited from reading email or sending or receiving text messages while driving. Yet, in certain areas of the state, it remains legal to use a phone hands-free. This means that drivers may be permitted to press a button on a phone to answer it. However, every region has its own laws, meaning that drivers need to understand their local regulations before they get behind the wheel.
It isn’t clear whether stricter texting and driving laws reduce accidents. But, stricter laws could certainly make enforcement easier and also help victims of distracted driving seek damages after a crash. With a no-tolerance policy, victims of distracted driving can show that the other driver was at fault if they were texting. The Begum Law Group are San Antonio, Texas personal injury lawyers who work with victims who have suffered as a result of another driver’s decision to pick up their phone. Our firm understands how devastating getting hurt in a car or truck accident can be. Visit our personal injury lawyers at the Begum Law Group today to learn more about your rights.

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